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The Effects of Unpaid Taxes (A Lower Credit Score, Revoked Passport)

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It is not uncommon for people to have tax debt. While many want to quickly resolve the debt and move on with their lives, others choose to ignore it. Unfortunately, ignoring your tax debt does not make it go away, and it can actually negatively impact your life in a number of ways.

Here are the effects of unpaid taxes.

Effects of Unpaid Taxes

No federal tax refund

When filing your taxes, you may be due a refund. Typically, you would receive a check in the mail or have the money deposited into your checking or savings account; however, if you have a tax debt, the IRS will not issue your refund. Instead, the IRS will keep your refund and it will be put toward the balance due on your tax debt. And this will continue to occur until the total tax debt is paid off.

Interest and penalties

The IRS will add interest and penalties to your tax debt when it goes unpaid. You will likely see a total of 5% interest added to your tax debt every year it goes unpaid. This will ultimately increase the total amount of your debt. For many, as a debt steadily increases over time, it is harder for them to pay off the debt. This will likely happen if you wait too long to pay off your debt.

Denial or revocation of passport

Seriously delinquent tax debt can result in the denial or revocation of your passport. If your debt, including interest and penalties, is more than $53,000, it is considered seriously delinquent. Once the IRS certifies this debt to the State Department, if you apply for a passport, the application will be denied. If you already have a passport, it will be revoked.

Seizure of money and assets

If you own homes, vehicles, or other assets, the IRS can seize this property to cover the cost of your tax debt. This is known as a levy. In addition to having the option to seize your property,  the IRS can take money from your bank accounts or money earned by your small business, and your wages can be garnished. This can create a challenge for you if you have other monthly expenses that you need to cover.

Debt collection

One of the ways the IRS may attempt to collect a tax debt is by turning it over to a private debt collection agency that will become responsible for collecting this debt. If this happens, the debt collection agency will contact you using a number of communication methods in an attempt to help you resolve your tax debt.

This can also negatively affect your credit score!

Tax lien

If your taxes go unpaid for a certain amount of time, the IRS will file a Notice of Federal Tax Lien. The property you own, such as your home or vehicle, will no longer be in your possession. And creditors will be aware of this lien, making it hard for you to get approved for any type of credit. There are ways to remove the lien and have possession of the property returned to you, but paying the tax debt is the simplest.

It is understandable that your budget may not allow you to pay your tax debt in full before the due date. It may be tempting to ignore your tax debt, but you’ll want to consider the consequences before you decide to not pay your debt. And with the IRS offering taxpayers multiple ways to pay their tax debt, it is possible to pay your debt and avoid facing similar consequences that other people faced when they chose to not pay their taxes.

 

 

 

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Financial advice

How to Avoid Racking Up Debt During the Holidays

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The holidays bring a lot of excitement and cheer. But is also a time characterized by a lot of spending. Statistics show that holiday spending goes up every year in the last few years. Unfortunately, holiday expenditure can take a big chunk out of your credit card.

It may feel great while the holidays last but the feeling may not last when you find yourself up to your neck in debt accrued during the holidays. Debt can mess up your life and interfere with your plans especially at the beginning of the year. The question is; can you still enjoy the holidays and still manage to keep off unnecessary debt? Yes indeed! Here are proven ways on how to avoid racking up debt during the holidays.

Avoiding Debt During the Holidays

Work with a Budget

A budget helps you to plan for the available resources and keeps you from doing spontaneous shopping. In your budget, categorize your spending and set money allocation for each item. This can help you have a general figure of the amount that you want to spend and also help you to know where to give more weight. A budget would be worthless if you don’t stick to it; be sure to strictly adhere to it and you will be grateful.

Use Cash to Pay for Expenses

Holiday debts result from credit cards and other loans. Research shows that people who use credit cards for shopping are likely to use many times more money than those that pay cash. There are different ways in which you can put aside some cash for the holiday:

  • Sell stuff that you don’t need in the house. This can be furniture, play gear for kids, electronics, kitchen gadgets, etc. As long as they are in good condition and someone can put them into good use, they are better off bringing you some cash.
  • Set up a holiday account early in advance
  • Use your Christmas bonus to boost your expenditure.
  • Cut cost on your normal expenditure to save for the holidays

Adopt Cost-Effective Holiday Events

Taking your family for a cruise around the Caribbean Islands and lodging in 5-star hotels is a great idea. However, if you will still be struggling to pay the debt come next year; it is time to re-evaluate your options. You can still have a memorable holiday with your family and friends without necessarily breaking the bank. Here are some cost-effective options:

  • Spend time with your family and friends at home and in the process share meals and gifts
  • Plan for traveling at a time when it is likely to be less expensive and save towards it
  • Consider Picnics and Parties

Save on gifts

Buying gifts for all your family, friends and other important people in your life can turn out to be one big expensive affair and especially if you don’t have enough cash set aside to cater for this. However, you can also make the gifts genuine, thoughtful, and memorable at a relatively low cost using the following tips:

  • If you are in the service industry, offer a free session of your services as a gift
  • Get creative and make gifts such as cards for your children’s teachers, boss, workmates etc.
  • Instead of buying a gift for each of your friends, bring them together and cast lots where each buys a gift for one and gets one from another
  • When coming up with a list of gifts to buy, include other options of about the same cost to avoid spending more in case the first choice goes out of stock or is unavailable

Shop Early

Shopping early helps to spread out your spending and also gives you time to shop for great deals. Since holidays are already fixed, come up with a list of everything you need to buy and start buying. Be on the lookout for discounts and offers such as the end of summer sales and stock up on items with the best deals.

The Bottom Line

The Holidays don’t have to leave you with the bitter after taste of racked up debts. With proper planning, a few adjustments, and being flexible enough to accommodate cost-effective ideas, you can still enjoy your holiday without disrupting your future financial plans.

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How to Get the Most Out of Credit Cards During the Holidays

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Is it too soon to start planning your end-of-year holiday events? That may be debatable but we all know how quick retailers are to taking advantage of increased sales brought on by holiday shoppers. With Thanksgiving just around the corner most retailers are already advertising for their big shopping events and Black Friday deals. If you, like many others, choose to take advantage of these great deals then you’ll also want to plan ahead.

The biggest temptation during the holiday sales events is to break out the credit cards in order to take advantage of the great deals while they’re available. You might be saving a lot of money on the special deals but if you’re not careful, your credit card costs could end up making those purchases cost much more than they’re worth. That’s why you need to take precautions when using credit cards for holiday purchases. Here are six ways to make the most of your credit cards during the holiday season:

1. Sign Up for a Cash Back Card

For those of you who are not already heavily invested in a specific travel rewards program, you may be better off using a cash back rewards card. For new cardholders you may be able to get a bonus cash back offer when you sign up. If you do plan on signing up for a new card with a cash back deal, look for an offer that gives you a higher cash back percentage (as much as 5 percent)  on popular retailers such as Walmart, Target, or even Amazon.

Just keep in mind that you should only choose a cash back or rewards card over a zero or low-interest card if you are able to pay your monthly statements in full. Otherwise it would be better to find a card with a zero-interest introductory rate or low-interest card as it would save you the most in the long run.

Holiday Shopping

2. Activate Your Bonus Purchase Opportunities

Many rewards cards will feature rotating bonus categories which you may need to activate or choose each quarter. If your card does have rotating bonus opportunities, make sure that you log in each quarter to activate. Also bear in mind that many of these rewards may have a limit on how much you can earn so keep track of your purchases and switch cards once you’ve reached the limit.

3. Learn About Shopping Portals

Unknown to many rewards cardholder is the opportunities available from shopping portals. Many loyalty programs and credit cards now offer online shopping portals which will allow you to earn extra points, miles, or cash back from your purchases.

These online shopping portals often feature some of the top national retailers and can usually pad your purchase rewards with extra points per dollar spent. With most airline and hotel loyalty programs, they will likely have their own portals as well. Using these websites can help you stack your rewards earning potential.

4. Examine Your Cardholder Benefits

Holiday shopping often features large purchases on items you wouldn’t normally buy unless they are heavily discounted – which is often the case during Black Friday sales events. For those bigger purchases, you may want to consider your cardholder benefits. May credit cards include benefits such as accidental damage and theft protection, extended warranties, price and return protections. These benefits can come in handy when making a large purchase, such as a new TV or computer.

5. Decide if it’s Worth Getting a Store Credit Card

If you don’t already have a great rewards or low-interest card, you may want to consider getting a store credit card. It is likely that any of the major stores that you plan to shop at during the holiday season will offer their own branded credit card. These cards should never be an impulse sign up though. You should always find out in advance if it’s worth considering.

Most of the retail credit cards will feature a very high interest rate so it is important that you consider their terms and conditions and quality of rewards programs before deciding.

6. Consider an Interest-Free Promotional Financing Offer

It is not uncommon for American shoppers to spend “too much” during the holiday season in order to take advantage of special savings and offers. That is all well and good if you are able to pay off your credit cards in a timely manner but if not, you could end up pay more in interest than the savings you earned from the discounts.

If you are unsure whether you’ll be able to pay off your credit card balances within a few months, you may want to consider opening a card with a 0 percent APR offer for new purchases. These offers allow you to avoid interest charges for six to 18 months. Just make sure you don’t keep a high balance on your card for too long as it can negatively affect your credit score.

For more financial advice and credit repair assistance, contact Credit Absolute.

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Increasing Your Savings on a Low-Income Salary

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Saving Money on a Low-Income SalaryA low-income salary can create challenges when it comes to reaching your financial goals. You may want to take a vacation, buy a new car, or just put some cash away for a rainy day, but how can you do that with a limited income?

Although you may struggle to add to your savings, there are ways to gain control of your finances and ensure you have extra cash stashed away even when you don’t think you’re making enough money.

Consolidate debt

It is common for people to have debt. Between student loans, credit cards, and monthly expenses, managing your debt on a low-income salary can be challenging. Debt consolidation is an option that many people consider when debt becomes overwhelming and they are looking for a way out. When you consolidate your debt, you are combining all of your debts into one and paying them off with a loan.

Benefits of consolidating your debt include:

  • One fixed monthly payment
  • Pay off debt sooner
  • Improve/increase credit score

Track your spending

Do you know what you spend your money every month? When you want to save, you may consider cutting out certain expenses, but you need to understand what you are spending your money on before you can make any changes. By tracking your spending, you can get a better idea of where your money is going and decide if it needs to continue to be spent in the same way. You’ll likely find one or two expenses to eliminate.

Consider affordable alternatives

When you shop online or in-person at your favorite retailers and merchants, the choices that you make can be costly. As you examine how much money you spend monthly, you should note that you could be spending less by considering affordable alternatives. For example, rather than opt for a name brand cereal, reach for the generic cereal. There can be concern about sacrificing taste or quality for the price, but you may learn to appreciate how much money you save.

Seek opportunities for supplemental income

When you have a low-income salary, you don’t have to only work with the income from one job. Seeking an opportunity for supplemental income, such as a part-time job, will allow you to have money that you can put into your savings account. In fact, you can use the income from one job to cover your monthly expenses, and the supplemental income can go straight to the bank.

Consider applying for a part-time position that may offer you a flexible schedule to accommodate your full-time job such as:

  • Grocery store
  • Convenience store
  • Gas station
  • Clothing store
  • Restaurant
  • Ride-share company

Coupons

People can save a lot of money on life’s necessities when they use coupons. If you need personal care items, clothes, groceries, or other items, you can easily find a coupon. There are a number of websites that offer consumers coupons and discount codes that can be used in person and online as well as sales papers that may be delivered in the mail. Additionally, many merchants and retailers have mobile apps and programs available to customers who want to save a bit of money on their purchases and get rewarded every time they spend. Depending on the retailer, you may get cashback.

There is no need to feel defeated when you have a low-income salary. True, it may be harder to manage your finances, especially when you compare yourself to someone who is making more money, but improving your situation is possible. With a few changes, you can start to put more money away and watch as your savings grows.

 

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